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Where Porphyro took covert, pleased


His poor guide hurried back with agues in her brain.

Her faltering hand upon the balustrade,

Old Angela was feeling for the stair,
When Madeline, Saint Agnes' charméd

Rose, like a missioned spirit, unaware;
With silver taper's light, and pious


She turned, and down the aged gossip led

To a safe level matting. Now prepare, Young Porphyro, for gazing on that bed!

She comes, she comes again, like ringdove frayed and fled.

Out went the taper as she hurried in, Its little smoke in pallid moonshine died:

She closed the door, she panted, all akin
To spirits of the air, and visions wide:
No uttered syllable, or, woe betide!
But to her heart, her heart was voluble,
Paining with eloquence her balmy

As though a tongueless nightingale
should swell

Her throat in vain, and die, heart-stifled, in her dell.

A casement high and triple-arched there was,

A shielded scutcheon blushed with blood of queens and kings.

As down she knelt for heaven's grace
and boon:
Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together

And on her silver cross soft amethyst,
And on her hair a glory, like a

She seemed a splendid angel, newly drest,

Save wings, for heaven:- Porphyro grew faint:

She knelt, so pure a thing, so free from mortal taint.

Full on this casement shone the win-
try moon,
And threw warm gules on Madeline's
fair breast,

Anon his heart revives: her vespers

Of all its wreathéd pearls her hair she
Unclasps her warmed jewels one by


Loosens her fragrant bodice; by degrees

Her rich attire creeps rustling to her

Half hidden, like a mermaid in sea-
Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and

In fancy, fair Saint Agnes in her bed, But dares not look behind, or all the charm is fled.

All garlanded with carven imageries Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of knot-grass,

And diamonded with panes of quaint device,

Innumerable of stains and splendid

dyes As are the tiger-moth's deep-damasked wings;

And in the midst, 'mong thousand heraldries,


And twilight saints, and dim embla- As though a rose should shut, and be a


bud again.


Soon, trembling in her soft and chil In sort of wakeful swoon, perplexed she lay,

Until the poppied warmth of sleep oppressed

Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued


Flown, like a thought, until the mor-
Blissfully havened both from joy and

Clasped like a missal where swart
Paynims pray;
Blinded alike from sunshine and from

Stolen to this paradise, and so entranced,

Porphyro gazed upon her empty dress, And listened to her breathing, if it chanced

To wake into a slumberous tenderness;

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They glide, like phantoms, into the wide hall;

Like phantoms to the iron porch they glide,

Where lay the porter, in uneasy sprawl, With a huge empty flagon by his side:

The wakeful bloodhound rose, and
shook his hide,

But his sagacious eye an inmate owns:
By one, and one, the bolts full easy

"My Madeline! sweet dreamer! lovely bride!


Say, may I be for aye thy vassal blest? Thy beauty's shield, heart-shaped and vermeil dyed?

The chains lie silent on the foot-worn stones;

Ah, silver shrine, here will I take my The key turns, and the door upon its hinges groans.


After so many hours of toil and quest,
A famished pilgrim,- saved by miracle.
Though I have found, I will not rob
thy nest

Saving of thy sweet self; if thou think'st
To trust, fair Madeline, to no rude infidel."

And they are gone: ay, ages long ago
These lovers fled away into the storm.
That night the baron dreamt of many

a woe,

And all his warrior-guests, with shade and form

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